Bosa tower (1500 W Georgia) scaled back (50 to 43 storeys) to avoid “puncturing” view cone: Open house Feb 4 (Thurs)

Bosa 1500 West Georgia image proposed Jan 2016You are invited to attend an Open House
hosted by the developer, Bosa Properties.

They plan to apply for a Rezoning Application for a mixed-use building at:
1500 West Georgia St

Open House Location:
Empire Landmark Hotel, 1400 Robson St, (Pavilion 1)

Time: (drop in)
5:00PM –7:30-PM
Thursday, February 4th, 2016

See below for text of invitation card, and excerpts from Business in Vancouver article: “Public consultation set for scaled-back proposed tower: Project reduced because city planners believed tower would ‘puncture view cones’

See also some of our comments below on the West End Community Plan, which created hundreds of millions in profits, with the stroke of a pen, and obliterated the opportunity for the neighbourhood to influence City Hall’s decision-making on many projects.

Bosa 1500 West Georgia image proposed, open house invite card, 4-Feb-2016

 

Text of invitation card from Bosa.

Please Join Us We are hosting a Public Open House
for 1500 West Georgia Street.

Bosa Properties Inc. intends to apply for a rezoning of 1500 West Georgia Street to permit the addition of a mixed-use building by international award-winning architect Ole Scheeren.

We welcome you to drop-in between 5:00pm – 7:30pm to view preliminary plans, meet the project team, and share your feedback. Our material will also demonstrate how the proposal aligns with the City’s West End Community Plan.

For more information, please contact: Sophie Perndl, Brook Pooni Associates e. sperndl@brookpooni.com t. 604.731.9053 x 114

Event Details
Date: Thursday, February 4, 2016
Time: 5:00pm – 7:30pm (drop-in)
Place: Empire Landmark Hotel
1400 Robson Street
(Pavilion 1)

This is not a City of Vancouver event. If a rezoning application is subsequently submitted to the City, there will he an official City-led public consultation process including a City-hosted open house with a detailed description of the application complete with scale model

**************

Related article:

Public consultation set for scaled-back proposed tower
Project reduced because city planners believed tower would “puncture view cones”

(Business in Vancouver, by Glen Korstrom, 26-Jan-2016, updated) Excerpts below.

https://www.biv.com/article/2016/1/public-consultation-looms-proposed-tower-could-tra/

Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties are holding an open house February 4 to get input from the public on plans to build a 43-storey iconic building in the plaza next to an equally distinctive 38-year-old, green-glass building at 1500 West Georgia Street.

The project is scaled back from what was originally planned to be a 50-storey tower and the open house will take place at the Empire Landmark Hotel, at 1400 Robson Street, between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The project’s German architect Ole Scheeren’s website still carries the original specifications for the building.1500wgeorgia-rendering.jpg__0x400_q95_autocrop_crop-smart_subsampling-2_upscale
(Image: A screen grab of a description of the project from architect Ole Scheeren’s website. Taken January 27)

Designs for the tower were first released last June.

At around 10 p.m. on January 27, Bosa’s senior vice-president, Daryl Simpson, explained to Business in Vancouver that the project has shrunk to be only 43 storeys because the City of Vancouver in September rejected the original proposal because planners believed that the original proposal would “puncture view cones.”  

[CityHallwatch comment: One wonders how the experts developing the proposal erred in calculation of the view cones by seven storeys. There may be a back story to this situation.]

Simpson said that the project is now slated to have 218 homes, not 235 as originally proposed. The project’s total square footage, including retail, public amenities and residential amenity space is now 282,214 square feet, not 329,400 square feet.

The Bosa/Kingswood proposal follows the City of Vancouver’s decision to allow higher density allowances under its revamped West End Community Plan (WECP). That plan increased property values along major West End thoroughfares and spurred several real estate transactions – one of which was Bosa and Kingswood’s pact to buy the site in August 2014 for $120 million from the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP).

Both Segal and a HOOPP representative confirmed to Business in Vancouver at the time that a density hike on the site, thanks to the WECP, was a key factor in consummating the deal….

 

[CityHallWatch comment: Readers should ponder the significance of the last two paragraphs. The developer-funded majority party on City Council, by approving the West End Community Plan in 2013, with the stroke of a pen created hundreds of millions of dollars in potential and real profits for developers, by permitting exceptional increases in height and density on scores of city blocks in their entirety. One effect of this was immediately attracting speculation and deals at prices until now unheard of in Vancouver. Meanwhile, benefits to the community are a LONG way off in the future, except for cosmetic but highly advertised changes such as a rainbow-coloured crosswalk, a plaza space on a side street, another spot of street painting, flashing lights lining Davie Street. Things like that. For such projects, the City loudly proclaims opportunities for public input. While this site will require a rezoning public hearing, on many sites where the height and density was “pre-zoned” much higher through the WECP, developers can now forego the public hearing process entirely, and go straight to the Development Permit Board, consisting of four civil servants who are not directly accountable to the public. Public opportunities to address elected officials on major projects along Davie, Robson and Alberni was simply removed by circumventing the rezoning process.]

**************

Former chief planner of Vancouver commented on the design in June 2015.

https://pricetags.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/ray-spaxman-vitruvius-on-west-georgia/

Excerpt:

When The Sun called me on Friday and asked what I thought of the proposed building at 1500 Georgia Street, I had only seen the photo of it in the Globe and Mail; and The Sun reporters are correct in reporting that I had nothing positive to say about it. Now that I have seen the photo in today’s Sun I do have something positive to say  about it: It is an interesting sculptural composition of different-sized rectangular blocks arranged randomly to evoke, like so many cubist studies of yesteryear, a fascinating study of three-dimensional sculptural relationships. For those people enjoying that form of art, this object could look quite fascinating, perhaps built with marble blocks  and standing even 30 feet high among the trees in Stanley Park, as a piece of public art. A smaller version could be equally fascinating on someones coffee table. As a residential building in an existing neighbourhood, we should wonder….

He concludes with this (excerpt):

It would be good too to have a well-moderated public discussion so that the interested community can hear what everyone thinks and how the city and the developer respond to that. We have a planning department that deals with these issues all the time and advises development proponents how best to understand the community’s planning and design wishes, so it would be good for them and the developer to present their initial thoughts and advice to ensure the public is well informed by the experts at the start of this conversation. For one small example it would be good to hear what the city’s current policy is regarding allowing proponents to build out over the public street right of way.

5 thoughts on “Bosa tower (1500 W Georgia) scaled back (50 to 43 storeys) to avoid “puncturing” view cone: Open house Feb 4 (Thurs)

  1. > Meanwhile, benefits to the community are a LONG way off in the future

    It doesn’t seem like you don’t quite understand the CAC or social housing requirements of the WECP. In some cases or rezoning, the benefits to the community come in the shape of cash CACs. This property is in one of those zones that will receive a negotiated cash (or in-kind) CAC. This is payable at implementation of rezoning (so let’s say 12-18 months from now or however long re-zoning takes, but certainly well before a shovel is ever in the ground).

    The second type of benefit to the community comes from delivery of a certain number of social housing units (20-25% of the gross floor area). Wall’s tower on Nelson, Intracorp’s project on Jervis, and many others fit this zone (some of those zones allow the option of building 100% market rental in lieu of any social housing, such as Westbank/Safeway’s newest proposal on Davie). So, sure, I guess those social housing benefits are a ways off, but I think you could argue that those units (which are given the city, and run by third party non-profit operators) are more important to sustainable housing in the West End, and are worth the wait.

    Rather than blindly criticizing every bit of new development in the West End, take the time to understand the plan and its associated benefits, and how the process works. You and your readers will be better for it.

    • Rental 100 units are added density at the top market rents the market can bear–that is the starting rental rates, and the owners can raise them every time a renter moves out. Large private and institutional investors are drooling to buy rental buildings in Vancouver as they are now seen as very lucrative. So the neighbourhood gets a lot of extra density right away, but is slated to lose amenities like the aquatic centre. Saint Paul’s is moving out to be replaced by more condos. Meanwhile, the City is silent on delivery of the amenity package. WEN reports that they have received no response from City Hall on this letter WEN writes City Council on 2016 Budget & Capital Plan, 5-year plan: More info sought on benefits of Community Plan: https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/wen-to-council-2016-budget/.

      • Just FYI, I don’t think any of the new rental towers in the West End are being developed under Rental 100, mostly because the difference in achievable market rent and the rental caps set by Rental 100 far out strip the DCL costs that are waived for Rental 100. I think WEN states Reliance’s property on Bidwell is to be developed under Rental 100, but I can’t find any evidence of that on the City webpage.

        Of course 100% market rental buildings pay no CAC as the City views gaining market rental units as a benefit. The City has provided the choice between developing 75%/25% market condo / social housing (in some cases 80/20) or 100% market rental in certain zones of the West End. Should the City have mandated social housing units in market rental buildings, the market rental units would become uneconomical to develop, and you’d end up with market condo and social housing. I think this is a decent compromise for the City to increase its stock of social housing units and market rental units.

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